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OLD house in need of paint

house built in 1860's - there is no outside sheathing - we go from studs/beams to the clapboard siding. The outside paint is peeling, there are rusty nail heads showing and there is mold under some of the paint. My plan? Right now I am thinking about a good grade of vinyl siding. If I want to vinyl side it - do I need to remove all the old paint/pressure wash or something to get rid of any mold? Can i put some sort of insulation under the siding? What questions should I ask if I talk to a siding contractor? At this point, I am just scraping old paint while I figure out what to do....Can anyone help this beginner? I'm not afraid of hard work, but I hate to do hard work twice over! House is two story, small, just 1,000 square feet with very little in the way of architectural interest - plain old farmhouse-

Re: OLD house in need of paint


My reply would be tempered by the question as to how long ou intend to occupy this house? Vinyl or aluminum siding would probably be the most economic in the short term from the stand point of ease of maintenance. Siding contractors can put sheet foam insulation under the new siding to gain you some insulation value.

To keep painting the existing siding is somewhat of a losing battle. Your house, of its age, has virtually no insulation or vapor barriers to keep moisture generated within the house from migrating to the exterior. Moisture gets into the rear of the siding boards and the heat of the sun forms vapor pressure in the wood and peeling is the result. If you would strip the house to bare wood and re-paint with modern acrylic housepaint, you would have better results, but probably would still experience peeling. Modern acylics breath much better than oil paint and would allow much of that moisture to pass on through.

If you are in your house for the long haul and willing to suffer the initial expence, I would consider removing the siding, insulating the wall cavities, sheathing the exterior and then re-siding with wood or composite siding. I have hardy plank on my house and am very satisfied with it. It is sturdy and holds paint well.

Foam sprayed from the exterior would give you tremendous insulation and air infiltration protection, however, this would be the most expensive option. Batt insulation with the vapor barrier to the interior side would also give you a dramatic improvement in your heating/cooling bills while helping block moisture from entering the wall cavities. The insulation will also make your house much more comfortable summer and winter.

If you go the vinyl route, I would still wash the house down with clorine bleach to kill that mold before covering it up.

Re: OLD house in need of paint

Thank you - we only plan to live here a few more years - we are heading a little further south from Ohio -- I think vinyl is the way we'll go - any advice on vinyl siding application is appreciated...

Re: OLD house in need of paint

I agree I think you need a vapor barrier too before you put your vinyl siding on. As someone who has vinyl siding on his house I think it is great in many ways as the siding they are making now doesn't really fade as much as it used to.
I have had an off white siding on our rental house that we rent next door and it has been up since at least 1992 and it has weathered very nicely. At our house we have plain white siding and the vinyl siding has done very well here too.
However that being said there are some caveats to vinyl siding that I have noticed at our house and not at our tenants house. In our house we had a mold problem in our house and the insulation they put up outside didn't really do much to keep our house warmer. At first we thought maybe it was the windows that was causing some mold to form. We replaced those and still more mold. After we had some rooms isulated though and the mold removed and new wallboard put up our mold problem did go away for the most part except by one window and after that was caulked around the window no more problems there either.
At our tenants house they still have the old windows that were installed when the house was built and as I said they don't have mold. I think the big difference was my tenants house has plywood sheathing and our house has what they call black hardy board which is not nearly as good. Also the house next door has house wrap on it which these builders never bothered to do over here.
So I would certainly go with vinyl siding but I think I would have the old siding removed as it just doesn't look as good when it is kept on underneath and I would then have plywood put up with a house wrap and then insulate inside with blown insulation when I could. If you super insulate though keep this in mind moisture can then build up inside and you again can have mold so an air to air heat exchanger should then be used to get rid of excessive moisture. If you do those things I mentioned it will cost you more of course but you will feel better inside your house and the value of your house will go up. Any new owners too will appreciate the fact that you took the time to do the best job you could rather than just slapping up vinyl siding and calling it done. Good luck to you and I hope you post some photos!:)

Re: OLD house in need of paint

The vapor barrier goes on the warm side of the building envelope, not directly under the exterior siding (unless you literally live in the tropics). In N.A. placing vapor barrier under siding results in wet insulation and probably wet framing, mold and eventually rot/structural failure.
Almost as bad a situation can be created by putting a second sheathing over the original, or tarpaper between sheathing and flush siding.
Instead, we use a houswrap that is wind-proof, liquid-water-resistant but water-vapor-permeable. That' s a Tyvek or Typar (to name two brands).

Re: OLD house in need of paint

A few thoughts on vapor barriers: In cold weather climates, the vapor barrier is placed to the warm (interior) side of the house.New construction will commonly have heavy plastic sheeting placed just in back of the drywall to prevent home generated moisture from migrating into the wall cavity. On existing construction, an oil or shellac passed primer to the interior walls and ceilings will greatly aid in stopping this moisture migration.

In cold climates, vapor barriers are NEVER placed under the exterior siding. Indeed, years of accumulation of oil paint on the exterior of older homes IS a vapor barrier. Often homes which have never had a peeling problem, will begin to peel. That last coat or two of oil paint was the straw that broke the camels back.

The average home loses more heat to air infiltration than to heat transfer. To the extent a house can be wrapped with an air infiltration barrier , such as TYVEK, under the siding, the more comfortable a house will be. Products such as Tyvek allow moisture vapor to respire outwards, yet stop wind and running water from entering the house wall cavities.

Many years ago, when aluminum siding first appeared, the homes were first wrapped in an aluminum foil type product. I remember wondering at the time at how vapor would be able to exit the wall cavity? A few years later, the Federal Housing Department (HUD) had occasion to open up a few of these walls. They found dry rot to be prevalent in them. TYVEK type products are now the standard wrap, as they can breathe.

As to finding a siding contractor: Ask your friends or neighbors who have had it give you a recommendation. Go to the lumber and supply firms and ask for a recommendation. They know who buys quality products and get word of mouth feed back as to who does good work. Once getting contractor names, get at least three estimates, call the BBB for their complaint record. ASk the contractor what materials they will be using specifically. There are many grades of vynil siding, just as there are different grades of paint. Call the suppliers and ask if the stated materials are premium grade.

NEVER give a contractor payment until after the work is done and you are completely satisfied! This I say as a former painting contractor. If a contractor does not have good credit down at the supply house, you do not want him either! A small percent, i.e. 5% or 10%, might be asked as ernest money, but nothing more.

It also is also a good idea to ask to see the contractors' Certificate of Insurance. If he damages your property or one of his workers is injured on your house, you could be liable if he is not insured!

Also, demand a Waiver of Lien from his supplier, especially if the siding materials were delivered directly to your home from the supplier. If the contractor does not pay his bill from the supplier, YOU are liable for paying for them!

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